We were wandering around the crowded, noisy halls of this year's NAMM
show when a particularly freaked-out drum pattern struck our eardrums. We followed the sound and encountered a gray-haired, bespectacled gentleman tapping and tweaking knobs so professionally that we couldn't help checking out his name tag. Imagine our delight when we saw it was no less than Roger Linn, designer of the Linndrum and Akai
's MPC60. If you're not familiar with those terms, no matter: let's just say that Dr. Dre and any other producer who's banged out a synthetic beat on a box owes this guy their entire career. Mr. Linn has partnered with Dave Smith Instruments
to create the Tempest, a 16-pad beauty with enough knobs, buttons, and sequencing muscle to keep you inspired for endless hours in the studio. And the sound
on this thing! It does include digital samples like a traditional MPC, but where it really shines is in the analog synthesis and effects department. It takes a lot for a drum machine to feel unique and valuable these days -- especially at the $2000 they'll be asking for it in June -- but the Tempest, from our brief time with it, sounds like it'll be well worth the investment for serious producers. Video of Mr. Linn's demo after the break.